The number of hours a dog sleeps per day can vary quite a bit depending on the dog’s age, breed, activity level, and overall health. However, on average, most dogs sleep between 12 and 14 hours per 24-hour cycle.
Puppy Sleep Requirements
Puppies need a lot more sleep than adult dogs. They can sleep 18 to 20 hours per day. This allows their developing brains and bodies to rest and grow. Puppies generally sleep in short bursts throughout the day and night. Newborn puppies may even need to eat every 2 to 3 hours, so sleeping and eating will take up most of their time.
Adult Dog Sleep Patterns
Adult dogs tend to settle into a more routine sleep pattern. They sleep less than puppies, averaging 12 to 14 hours of sleep per 24-hour cycle. However, this can vary quite a bit between breeds and individual dogs.
Some key factors that influence total sleep time for adult dogs include:
- Breed – Large and giant breeds tend to sleep more than small breeds. For example, Mastiffs and Saint Bernards may sleep 14+ hours a day, while small terriers and toy breeds may only sleep 9 to 10 hours.
- Age – Senior dogs tend to sleep more as they slow down, similar to older humans.
- Activity Level – Dogs that get more exercise and stimulation during the day will sleep less than inactive dogs.
- Health – Dogs that feel unwell may sleep more or have troubled sleep.
How Dogs Sleep
Dogs sleep differently than humans. They have a polyphasic sleep pattern, meaning they take frequent short naps throughout the 24-hour cycle rather than sleeping for one long stretch.
On average, dogs spend about 50% of their sleep time in non-REM sleep and 20% in deep, REM sleep. The other 30% is spent in a transitional state between non-REM and REM sleep.
Non-REM sleep is considered a light sleep where the body rests, breathing regulates, and heart rate slows. REM sleep is deeper and involves dreaming. During REM, the eyes move quickly back and forth behind closed eyelids, the muscles loosen, and breathing becomes irregular.
Typical Dog Sleep Cycle
Dogs generally follow a consistent daily sleep pattern with set intervals of activity and rest:
- 7 p.m. – Midnight: Naptime. Dogs will take short naps and sleep more lightly at night when people are active.
- Midnight – 2 a.m.: Deepest sleep. Dogs sleep most soundly during these darker, quieter hours.
- 2 a.m. – 4 a.m.: REM sleep peaks. dreaming occurs during this REM-heavy period.
- 4 a.m. – noon: More napping. Dogs nap on and off throughout the morning.
- Noon – 5 p.m.: Main sleep period. Dogs tend to settle in for a longer nap midday when households are quieter.
Of course, this schedule can vary based on when dogs are fed, exercised, and let outdoors. But in general, dogs tend to be most active around dawn and dusk.
Do Dogs Sleep at Night?
Yes, dogs do sleep at night, but they may not sleep through the entire night like humans. Dogs are crepuscular animals, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk.
So while they may take short naps at night when the household is winding down, their main long sleep period often coincides with daylight hours when people are at work and school.
Some dogs have difficulty sleeping through the night. Waking early is common with older dogs who need to relieve themselves more frequently. Anxiety, noise, discomfort, hunger, and thirst can also cause dogs to wake their owners up at night.
Why Do Dogs Sleep So Much?
There are several reasons why dogs sleep more than people do:
- Hunting ancestry – Dogs descended from wolves who had to conserve energy between hunts by sleeping when not active.
- Growth requirements – Puppies require tons of sleep to support their rapid growth and development.
- Brain processing – Canine brains may require more offline downtime to process all the new information they take in during the day through sights, sounds, smells, and feelings.
- Health benefits – Sleep allows the body to repair tissues, regulate hormones, and strengthen memories.
Tips for a Good Canine Bedtime Routine
Establishing a soothing bedtime routine can help dogs relax and prepare for sleep:
- Take a slow walk around the block to tire them out.
- Play soothing music and avoid TV noise.
- Give them a chew toy to relax their mind.
- Pet and massage them gently.
- Keep the house cool and dark.
Make sure your dog has a cozy dog bed in a quiet area away from commotion and bright lights. This will help them get adequate deep, restful sleep and stay healthy and happy.
Most dogs sleep 12 to 14 hours per 24-hour cycle. Puppies sleep even more, up to 20 hours a day. Dogs take frequent short naps throughout the day and night instead of sleeping for one long stretch. Their sleep cycle includes periods of light non-REM sleep as well as deeper REM sleep where dreams occur. Establishing a comforting pre-bedtime routine and providing a quiet, relaxing sleep space can help ensure your furry friend gets all the sleep they need.